A quick take on Syracuse’s disappointing 67-63 loss to Virginia Tech on Tuesday evening at the Carrier Dome:
WHAT HAPPENED: Quincy Guerrier slammed home a Buddy Boeheim miss with 13:47 to go, giving Syracuse a 38-29 lead. It was all Virginia Tech from there, led by Jalen Cone. He started with a pair of free throws that sparked a run for the Hokies, and by the time Landers Nolley II made a free throw with 7:46 left, Virginia Tech led 52-44. Cone drained three 3-pointers during that period, including two inexcusable 4-point plays. Syracuse went stone cold during that run, with just one field goal and three turnovers. Syracuse would pull to within 62-59 with 1:19 to go after Elijah Hughes’ 3, but P.J. Horne immediately responded with a long 2-pointer as the shot clock expired with 47 seconds, and Virginia Tech would hold on from there. It was a disappointing outcome for the Orange, who had led through most of the first half and deep into the second before the Hokies’ decisive second half push.
ANALYSIS: Projections released this morning had Syracuse as the No. 6 seed in a postseason tournament—in the NIT. Syracuse’s second straight loss in a coin-flip game definitely did nothing to help those chances. Things do not get easier from here on out. The Orange travel to Virginia, the same team that held them to 34 points in the season opener followed by a Boston College team that just upset the Cavaliers earlier in the evening. Then the schedule flips and the Orange is away at Notre Dame and Virginia Tech, the two teams SU just lost to at home. Syracuse desperately needs to pick up some wins in this stretch to keep a clear path to the postseason alive.
HERO: Cone finished with a game-high 19 points on 5-7 shooting from downtown.
ZERO: Both of the game’s billed stars struggled. Nolley, who came in averaging a team-high 17.4 points was 4-14 from the field and 1-11 from downtown. For the Orange, Hughes finished with 18, but took 16 shots to do so.
WHAT’S NEXT: The Orange will travel to Virginia to play the Cavaliers on Saturday at 4 p.m. TV: ESPN.